Author Archive

The End of January: Suicide and Rape in Nothing Holds Back the Night

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Having discovered her mother’s body several days after her suicide, Delphine de Vigan is moved to write not only her own recollections of her mother, but to graft a whole context for a woman who repeatedly came together and apart in Nothing Holds Back the Night.

Expired Futures in Ali Smith’s Autumn

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Written in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, Ali Smith’s Autumn questions how ripping up common ground in favour of enhanced borders reverberates through time and into living human bodies.

Splintered Selves and Sexual Abuse in Dorothy Nelson’s In Night’s City

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Set in 1970s Ireland, Dorothy Nelson’s In Night’s City is an obscure, deceptively slim book. Unofficial predecessor to Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, the novel charts Sara’s attempts to assimilate sexual abuse, suffering, and shame.

Creative Thought and Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain necessitates time spent alone, and so seems a natural conduit for loneliness. This doesn’t signal immediate alarm for the writer, who excels in spending time alone. But is there a more insidious, pervasive relationship between chronic pain and the writing process? How does it alter the texture

Writing as Mourning in Kate Zambreno’s Book of Mutter

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In Book of Mutter, Zambreno writes, “It is something ineffable about my mother that I search for.” This search, conducted over the thirteen years since Zambreno’s mother’s death, manifests in a fusion of memoir, essay, and meditation, and suggests how writing might embody the lifelong process of mourning a

Maternal Bodies in Vi Khi Nao’s Fish in Exile

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In Vi Khi Nao's Fish in Exile, Ethos and Catholic are grief-stricken at the deaths of their infant children. It is Catholic, however, whose body undergoes substantive change and becomes directly conflated with trauma and death.

Obsessive Tactics in Patty Yumi Cottrell’s Sorry to Disrupt the Peace

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In Patty Yumi Cottrell's novel Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, the narrator Helen Moran investigates her adopted brother's suicide, an effort complicated by Helen's own profound alienation. Relentlessly interior, discursive and associative, the novel reads as the direct outcome of Helen's grief, an inner crisis she attempts to control

Jean Genet’s Bodies & Borders

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In 1941, in Paris’s Prison de la Santé, Jean Genet was given three days’ solitary confinement for writing. On sheets of paper he’d been given to make into bags, Genet had begun his first novel: Our Lady of the Flowers.

Harm Was Done: Subversive Sympathy in Anakana Schofield’s MARTIN JOHN

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In Martin John, Anakana Schofield presents us with a sexual deviant hiding out in London having fled the West of Ireland. Where does this novel sit in relation to such works as Nabokov's Lolita and A.M. Homes' The End of Alice, and what role do such works serve?

Beyond Modernism: Eimear McBride and Embodiment 

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How does McBride employ and expand modernism? Is it her rendering of fragmented, burgeoning female subjectivities that defines her? Or is it her continuing to push form at the level of the sentence?​